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Pumpkin season brings plenty of colorful inspiration

Posted on October 19 2021

It’s finally here — the season for pumpkin pie. Forget key lime, which I love during the warmer months, but I’m ready for that warm-orange hue on my dessert plate.

These fall days signal the start of pumpkin gathering — although in South Florida, we don’t head to a chilly field for our jack-o-lanterns-to-be but to the store or area pumpkin patches. And we get ready for Halloween, we already have our eyes on Thanksgiving, with its welcoming colors of corn yellow, pumpkin orange and cranberry red.

Halloween also is the time for sweet treats. I’m in the mood for some cotton candy, perhaps because it reminds me of all those fall festivals in New England.

With the holidays upon us, it’s only natural to want to gather your family close and to think of those who were once part of our gatherings but have since left us. I think of my Uncle Ralph, who held the office of sheriff in Berwick, Maine, back in the day when sheriffs wore a woolen uniform. Thinking about that uniform always reminds me of crisp fall days, for some reason.

I am definitely a pumpkin person, having grown up near Boston. My grandmother was known for having a deft hand with cinnamon when she made her pumpkin pies, which were always smooth and spicy. I can smell the aroma right now. She served each slice with a ball of vanilla ice cream or double-whipped cream.

From the archives: Celebrate color synonymous with fall, Varney says

At the old Varney home in Nahant, Mass., the start of fall meant the summer slipcovers came off the furniture, only to be replaced by fall and winter covers. There was a golden woven cover for the sofa and vivid Christmas green-and-cranberry woven covers for the pull up chairs, all accented with cranberry red throw cushion covers.

We were a tradition-loving family who followed the colors of the seasons. My mother enjoyed using new patterns of china for every season. She kept seasonal placemats on the table and her meals always featured seasonal fruits, berries and nuts. Apples — stewed, baked or simply sliced — appeared on the harvest table, and for sure a pumpkin dish was right there next to them.

All this talk of fall food has me thinking about colors for an autumn-inspired decorating scheme you can consider for a bedroom. Cover the bedroom walls in a grasscloth, perhaps in a rich russet color with a coarse texture. At the windows, you might hang roman shades featuring a leaf print — maybe falling leaves in ochre, green, gold and yellow — on a cream background. And there’s a bit of fun: The leaves will appear to fall as you lower the shades.

Paint the bedroom ceiling a soft sky blue. On the floor, lay a plaid carpet in rust, brown, cream and orange.

Cover a club chair in russet gold or burnt orange. The bedroom furniture can include a campaign-style chest in walnut topped with a brass lamp in the style of an old oil lamp with a green glass shade. The ceiling fixture also can be brass — I would suggest a style of either of the Colonial Williamsburg era or, for a splash of excitement, a contemporary-style lighting piece. Just make sure it’s not jarringly modern.  

With the days growing shorter and the pumpkin placed on the front porch, think warm fall colors to bring this delightful season into your home.

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